E.J. Dionne, one of the most conventionally liberal of columnists, pays tribute to Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich for their great service to the nation:
Romney’s victory speech suggested that he hopes that the campaign will be about whether President Obama wants to turn the United States into Europe. A more relevant discussion would be over what American capitalism is — and should be. Thanks to Gingrich and Perry, this debate is now unavoidable.
According to Dionne, what American capitalism should be is socialism. Dionne’s column prompted this uncharacteristic but very funny bit of snark from Pete Wehner:
So it appears as if Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have done a masterful job of securing what most political strategists consider to be the key demographic in South Carolina’s Republican Party: E.J. Dionne voters.
When Dionne, who is about as reliable a liberal and as passionate a supporter of Barack Obama as you’ll find, is praising Republican politicians for their comments on capitalism, it tells you almost everything you need to know.
Roger Simon, unlike Dionne, actually hopes that the Republican primary process will select a candidate who can unseat Barack Obama, so his reaction to the Perry/Gingrich assault on free enterprise is quite different. In fact, it prompted an apology:
Okay, I don’t really consider myself a pundit-pundit, but I owe the readers of this website an apology:
I am a lousy judge of character. Don’t ever trust me again — or at least vet me extremely carefully.
I fell for Rick Perry, a man less qualified, it turns out, to be president than my dead grandmother. Yes, I had gone shooting with him in Austin and then to the NASCAR races and thought he was a swell guy.
But that has as much to do with being president, or even running for president, as flipping burgers at McDonald’s has to do with designing an iPad.
Although he had my early backing (I even tried to help with a teensy bit of speechwriting – something I never should have done given my occupation), Perry was a lousy candidate. Even beyond being a now famously inarticulate debater, on the stump he had almost nothing significant to say other than that he created jobs in his state, which he repeated ad infinitum, ad nausea as if some “political pro” (there’s an occupation for you) was perpetually whispering in his ear to stay on message. Oh, how he stayed. His campaign went nowhere.
But now it’s gotten worse. Perry has accused Romney of being a “vulture capitalist” at Bain Capital, just because some of the companies Bain invested in failed. Of course, that’s always true with such investments — and nobody forced anyone to take Bain’s money in the first place.
This basically anti-market propaganda from Perry would more normally come from a Norwegian socialist. The Texas governor sounds like a desperate hypocrite who is so ambitious he would be willing to take anything and anyone down with him. Shame on him. And shame on me.
Fortunately, I had long ago moved on, first for a brief pit stop with Herman Cain and then on to – Newt Gingrich. Mistake two. (Or three, if you include Cain.)
My guess is that Roger speaks for quite a few South Carolinians and Floridians, and Dionne, hardly any. If that is the case, we can hope that the Gingrich/Perry attacks on Bain fall on deaf ears–in the Republican primaries, anyway.